This is the most productive week of the year and that’s a shame


productivitySome people say that this week, the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, is the most productive week of the year:

  • Fewer people are working, which means fewer emails, fewer phone calls, and fewer disruptions (and lower expectations that you will reply immediately).
  • Most people who are working are coasting, so they aren’t bothering you either.
  • This time of the year is conducive to introspection and planning, both of which are underutilized tools for greater productivity.

I agree. It’s like the week before you go on vacation–you go into hyper-activity mode in order to clear your plate of unfinished projects, tie up loose ends, and plan the work you’ll do as soon as you return.

You know what I’m talking about. You get so much more done that week than you ever do, and you leave town with a clean desk, perhaps for the first time all year. You tell yourself how great how it would be great if you could get that much done every week.

So, why can’t you get as much done every week?

You could. You just don’t. And that’s a shame.

Increased productivity results not from more work but from productive habits. The good news is that just as you learned to be less productive most of the year (compared to what you can do this week or the week before vacation) you can learn to be more productive all year.

The even better news is that you can dramatically increase your productivity by adopting a few new habits. I’ll give you one to get started. In fact, one of my productivity mentors says this is the most valuable productivity habit he teaches.

The habit: “Plan tomorrow before tomorrow begins”.

Every evening, plan out the following day. Don’t wait until the day begins and you’re caught up in it, use the quiet of this afternoon or evening to made decisions about what you will do tomorrow.

The corollary, of course, is to “plan your week before your week begins”. If you’re doing that this week, great. Just remember to do it every week.